Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Misleading headings/Titres bizzares

I have noticed that newspaper titles are used in many different ways, especially when they serve as a link to the story. I was somewhat taken aback this morning when I found a heading on the Globe & Mail website that said:

Building permits plunge.

A bit intrigued, I clicked the title and lo and behold found:

Building permits plunge

Canadian building permits unexpectedly plunged to their lowest level in a year, paced by declines in Toronto and Vancouver, as the weather turned colder…..

So it was not an animated building that decided to try the waters.

On the French side of things, on the CBC especially, the Google and MSN transcribers have a rough time. French titles are usually preceded by a qualifying statement, for example: Vie sociale – De l’importance de votre cortex. Without the explanation, the title is much harder to understand.

Another one was: Crise politique en Ukraine – Le premier minister tend la main au président. On a referral French page, only the second (main) title is shown: The prime minister reaches out to the president. Could it be Harper and Bush? Without the word Ukraine, any guess is ok with this little context.

Reminds me of the classical heading translation example:

“PROFESSOR BURNS LEAVES ON COMMENCEMENT.” The all-cap approach conceals the fact that Burns is a proper name, not a verb. You can image what a beginner translator might do with this and describe a new ritual of burning leaves at a graduation.

Context is everything in translation. Make sure you provide all of it to the translator you hire – otherwise, he too might take the plunge.

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